Collingwood O'Hare are, of course, a multi-award
winning British animation
company. The Hound interviewed Tony Collingwood
back at Xmas, during
the launch of their hair-raising feature
The King's Beard. Their film
Eddy And The Bear has recently spawned
an equally-successful hit
series, and they are currently up to their
eyes in samba rythmns and
rainbow colours, working on their fab
new pre-school series Yoko!
Jakamoko! Toto!, due for transmission
on CITV next year. Yoko! is
shaping up into a huge pre-school hit,
complete with the most infectiously
daft title music you've ever heard...
For more on Gordon, Yoko!, Eddy and the
gang check out Collingwood
O'Hare's official site: http://www.collingwoodohare.com
And don't forget the Toonhound Q&A
with Mr Collingwood himself:
Beards And Bears
Now there was I just one month ago,
speculating on the change in
Aaardman Animation's feature-film
schedule. The Wallace & Gromit
feature had leapfrogged director
Richard Goleszowski's Tortoise Vs Hare
film, I said...
...Well things have changed again.
And with even more drama. Poor old
Tortoise has now been put on indefinite
suspension, his chasis just not
being up to the job it seems. Such a
shame. But that's just the luck of the
draw when developing a feature film nowadays,
and especially an animated
one. The Dreamworks/Disney battle is
firing on all cylinders. Aardman are
only one film in to their coverted Dreamworks
deal and so very much is riding
on the back of each and every decision.
Maybe even, our Tortoise friend will
return one day, now that the pressure
of delivery has been removed from its
shell. Time will tell...
Meanwhile, let's sound the Aardman trumpets
again because they've now
announced acquisition of a brand-new
feature project called Flushed Away.
This claymation comedy will come from
the pen of veteran writers Dick
Clement and Ian LeFrenais and will follow
the adventures of a pampered
pet rat who accidentally gets flushed
from his posh penthouse flat into
the London sewer system. As various sewer-bound
our Mr Rat finds himself falling
for the charms of sewer-life and its colourful
A most interesting purchase then,
packed with comic and animated
potential, but more importantly,
a very safe one. Clement Le Frenais have
been producing film and tv comedy scripts
and hits for a lifetime - their
hits include Porridge, The Commitments,
The Likely Lads, Vice Versa,
Hannibal Brooks and lord-knows-what
else. This duo are bound to be able
to steer the Aardman ship safely through
the production process to release.
Some touch decisions made there at
Aardman then, but necessary ones
methinks. It's great to see the
Aardman/Dreamworks film deal back on track
again and equally-great to see the animated
feature industry in such a
busy buzzing good shape right now:
I mean, Flushed Away joins Wallace
& Gromit, the cgi feature Valiant
(detailed last month), and
hush-hush film projects on a very
busy British slate...
Stay tooned to all things Aardman-esque
at their official site:
At last! - The new cgi-version of
Dan Dare is finally flying into a solar
system near you, courtesy of a deal
with Channel 5 here in the Uk.
Certainly, it's something to celebrate.
There's a crowd of fans out there
eager to see this new series, and
keen for it to outshine the problems
it encountered during production.
And by all accounts, the UK press
have leaped on the acquisition,
trumpeting Dan's return in glossy,
But there is just one sneaky problem
with the deal. And it's something that's
been overlooked by the press, it
seems. The Hound here lives in North-East
Scotland and whilst Elgin is a small
city-come-market town and not exactly
the most suburban area of the UK,
it's not excatly the Highland Wilds either.
And yet, for some inexplicable rason
you can't pick up a Channel 5 signal in
much of Moray unless you've a satelite
system hooked up to your tv. That
means a whole bunch of folk like us still
can't get to see the flippin' series!
Still, let's hope the series is
a hit. Then even us Morayshire folk can run
out and purchase the DVD. Better
still, let's see some tie-in merchandise
in our shops. Certainly, we'd be
delighted to stock DD figures and ships
over at ToonsToGo - if you know
of any licensed paraphenalia out there
for this series get in touch - we
want to stock it!
Ordinarily, I'd now direct you to
the official Dan Dare
but strangely, it's out of commission
till Autumn, pending a revamp.
So try the try the other Dare links
on Toonhound's index page instead...
Well, here it is folks, the very first
issue of Lucky Bags Comic is launched
this month. LBC as it shall hence be called,
is published via Toontastic
and features strips from our current Fleewway
Q&A'er Mark Bennington,
as well as the great Lew Stringer, Joe Matthews,
Ian Rimmer and Nigel Kitching.
The all-colour comic comes packaged up inside
a Lucky Bags goodie bag
of sweets and trinkets and retails for £1.99.
LBC stars include Dick Turtle,
Jungle Jane, DNA Couriers, The Horror
Bags, The Cheeky Monkeys,
B.E.M - Bug-Eyed Monsters, Granpa Cosmo,
Captain Krook and Wiz!
Now it's not usually my 'bag' to plug this
kind of publication here at Toonhound,
but LBC is supposed to be an attempt at something
a little bit braver than most.
It's a 'corporate' publication with a big bug
eye on the olde worlde comics
market of yore - all but abandoned since
the demise of the Fleetway
weeklies and now only inhabited by DC
So what does The Hound make of it all?
- Is this the first fleeting return
of those comic goodtimes, or merely another
shot across the bough of
those sinking strips? - Well, it's a rather
mixed-bag. First and foremost let's
get things straight from the out-set. This
is a younger kids' comic, aimed
squarely at the same age range as Nipper and
their ilk of old, rather than the
slightly more mature readership of Buster
and co. It also still feels a tad
too 'corporate' with Lucky Bags' 'stars'
Dick Turtle and friends too prominent
for my liking. Dick was Lucky Bags' very
first character created back in
1990 at the height of Eastman Laird's Ninja
Turtle fad. He was nothing more
than a commercial product character -
like Tony Tiger, or the Tetley Tea-Folk
grinning on the front of a product, enticing
us to purchase - and he feels
very dated. Obviously, he's there for
corporate/sentimental reasons, but
he really doesn't have that much star
strip potential. He's just too bland.
Funnily enough, another 'corporate' icon, The
Horror Bags munsters succeed
exactly where Mr Turtle fails. Indeed, even
the Harry Potter-like Wiz! achieves
...But, some of the other strips are rather
fun. The Bug-Eyed Monsters
sneak in a 'Life Of Brian' reference,
and Mark Bennington's Jungle Jane
certainly picks up 'Brownie Points' for
its poop joke and more.
LBC has achieved rather splendid distribution
through the likes of
Woolworth's and WH Smiths, succeeding
already where Fleetway was
failing in those last few years. What's
more Mr Bennington tells us the
Toontastic team is already hard at work
creating their fourth issue, a
Halloween Special. So will it have staying
power beyond that? - I can't
decide. Right now, LBC reads like a comic of
two halves. If LBC readers
can persuade the publishers to allow the strips
to develop naturally from
their corporate roots then it just might covince
True Blue comic fans
to start buying it. But a decision still
has to be made here: Is this a
comic that comes free with sweets and candies,
or do the sweets and
candies come free with the comic...?
Lucky Bags Comic is on sale in High Streets
up and down the UK,
and you can visit the official Lucky Bags
sweets site here:
Crikey, so here we are, one month on and I'm
still eating a hearty slice of
humble pie. I keep making promises I can't keep,
don't I? - I never got
round to those Wallace & Gromit pages, and
those so-often promised
artist Q&A's are still woefully absent...
Still, let's be postive here. The Q&A with
Fleetway's Mark Bennington
is sitting loud and proud on the site now, and
there's been a fair bit of
Fleetway page re-jigging to accompany its arrival.
And I can confirm
unequivocably, that the oft-promised interview
with Mr Lazy Bones
himself - artist Colin Whittock - is now in
my grubby paws, being prepped
to add to the site. But you know, keeping Toonhound
on the tracks just
seems to take up more and more of my unpaid time
- it's still a pleasure
creating these pages, but it doesn't half bog me
down once in a while!...
Stay tooned for many more tempting arrivals
soon. Just don't ask me
to tie them down yet. I'm not going to promise
things I can't deliver
any more. But I can tell you,
whatever appears will be worth returning for.
Heck, you knew that already though, didn't you?
Till next time!